Patagonia’s Common Threads Garment Recycling Program - Using old Capilene Garments to make new Polyester

Posted by wjohnsoro
Type: 
article
Comparative: 
yes
Publication year: 
2006
Language: 
English
Code: 
Clothing/Textile
Product: 
Capilene Garments to used to make new Polyester
Quality and sources
Is the study a: 
Quick LCA
Was a critical review performed?: 
No
Is the study compliant with ISO 14044?: 
No
Sponsor name(s): 
Patagonia
Sponsor type: 
Company
Practitioner(s): 
Patagonia
Practitioner(s) type: 
Company
Summary
Functional unit: 
1 metric ton DMT by Teijin
Goal and scope of the summary: 
As an innovator in reducing the impact of its products on the environment, Patagonia launched its "Common Threads Recycling Program" to collect old, worn-out Capilene garments from its customers and recycle them into new polyester. This study evaluates the energy use and greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the following three scenarios: 1) Process producing polyester from virgin materials, 2) Process producing polyester from local recycled products or 3) Process producing polyester from Capilene garments from the US. All production is completed at Patagonia's facility in Teijin, Japan.

The results of the study serve multiple purposes, from revealing the impacts of Patagonia's new Common Thread's Recycling Program to helping its customers better understand how to participate in reducing their collective ecological footprint. The study indicates that production of polyester from locally recycled items has the lowest energy use and CO2 emissions, while production of polyester from old Capilene garments collected in the US and shipped to Japan is the second best scenario. As expected, production of polyester from virgin raw materials uses more than four times the energy and produces nearly four times the CO2 emissions, than the second best option, using transported recycled garments. Surprisingly enough, the process of moving old garments from the consumer's closet to collection centers, either a retail store or the Reno Distribution Center, proves to have the greatest potential to impact the environment, much larger than the transport in bulk from Reno, NV to Japan. Such potential stresses the importance of the role of the consumer in the overall process and program. The study also concludes that further improvements in this and other processes can be made, like increasing the use of alternative-energy and high-volume shipping methods and opening additional recycling locations of this nature. Overall, this study affirms the value and effectiveness of Patagonia's Common Threads Recycling Program through a basic life cycle analysis that compares three polyester production options. 

Material impact(s): 
Waste generation
Raw material impact level: 
Medium
Manufacturing impact(s): 
Global warming
Manufacturing impact level: 
Low
Shipping impact(s): 
Global warming
Shipping impact level: 
Medium
End of life impact(s): 
Global warming
End of life impact level: 
Low


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